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Google Pulls Out Of Pentagon's $10 Bln Cloud Contest


Alphabet Inc.'s (GOOG,GOOGL) Google has decided not to compete in Pentagon's multi-billion dollar cloud computing contract, saying that the project might not align with its artificial intelligence or AI principles.

The Pentagon's Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure or JEDI cloud contract could be worth up to $10 billion over a decade if all options are exercised. Google, Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle have been vying for the contract.

The project involves transitioning massive amounts of data and processing power related to the Defense Department to the cloud. The bids by companies for the JEDI contract are due on Friday, October 12.

In late July, the Defense Department officially began accepting proposals for the controversial contract, which will be awarded to a single cloud provider so as to enable the rapid adoption of technology.

Google confirmed on Monday to Bloomberg that it has dropped the bidding process as the project conflicted with its new AI principles.

"We are not bidding on the JEDI contract because first, we couldn't be assured that it would align with our AI Principles. And second, we determined that there were portions of the contract that were out of scope with our current government certifications," a Google spokesman told Bloomberg.

Google's AI principles prevent the use of its AI software in weapons and services that violate international norms for surveillance and human rights.

In April, thousands of Google employees urged CEO Sundar Pichai to pull out of Project Maven, a Pentagon program that uses artificial intelligence to analyze video imagery used by military drones.

Google later said in June that it will not allow its artificial-intelligence products to be used in military weapons.

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is seen as a top contender for the JEDI cloud contract. Amazon Web Services or AWS is the only company approved by the U.S. government to handle secret and top secret data.

In August, Oracle Corp. (ORCL) filed a pre-award protest against the Pentagon's decision to award the JEDI contract to a single company instead of allowing for multiple winners.

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